Soy-Lime Tofu & Rice Bento Lunch

March/April 2009

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (16 votes)

Tofu, rice and vegetables are classic bento ingredients. Make extra rice for dinner and roll leftovers into balls for lunch. To keep green veggies vibrant and crisp, cook them briefly and immediately dunk them into a bowl of ice water. You can also use cubed store-bought baked tofu in place of the roasted tofu.

"its good but it wayyyyy tooo salty/sour. the oil doesnt quite cut the pungent flavors of the soy sauce and lime juice in the tofu. also i recommend using light firm tofu (less cals), and i added a little light coconut milk to the rice...
Soy-Lime Tofu & Rice Bento Lunch

Makes: 1 serving

Active Time:

Total Time:


Tofu & Dipping Sauce

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon prepared peanut sauce
  • 1 tablespoon “lite” coconut milk, (see Tip)

Rice Balls

  • 2/3 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, (optional)

Fruit & Vegetables

  • 1 cup steamed sugar snap peas
  • 6 strawberries, hulled
  • 6 orange wedges


  1. To prepare tofu: Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Combine soy sauce, lime juice and oil in a medium shallow dish or large sealable plastic bag. Add the tofu; gently toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 4 hours, gently stirring once or twice.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (discard marinade). Spread out on a large baking sheet, making sure the pieces are not touching. Roast, gently turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine peanut sauce and coconut milk to make dipping sauce and fill a small container with it.
  5. To prepare rice balls: Combine rice, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until the rice is a little sticky. With slightly wet hands, press and squeeze the rice into 4 balls. Sprinkle each ball with sesame seeds, if using.
  6. Pack 1/2 cup of the tofu, the rice balls and snap peas in a medium container. (Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1 1/2 cups roasted tofu for up to 3 days.) Nestle the container of dipping sauce in the same container.
  7. Pack strawberries and orange wedges in another medium container.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the tofu (Step 1) for up to 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate roasted tofu (Steps 2-3) for up to 3 days. Cover and refrigerate the rice balls (Step 5) for up to 2 days.
  • Tip: Refrigerate leftover coconut milk for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. It will appear separated when thawed; simply mix until smooth.


Per serving: 393 calories; 11 g fat (3 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 59 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 17 g protein; 9 g fiber; 321 mg sodium; 496 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (170% daily value), Calcium (35% dv), Magnesium (28% dv), Iron & Vitamin A (25% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 fruit, 1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

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